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CBS Evening News With Katie Couric

News/Business. Katie Couric. The latest world and national news. New. (CC) (Stereo)




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Couric 16, California 8, San Bruno 6, New York 4, Delaware 3, Tigger 3, Virginia 3, Katie Couric 3, Katie 3, Cbs News 3, Detroit 2, Chesapeake 2, Pacific Gas & Electric 2, Blackstone 2, Cbs 2, Alaska 2, Us 2, Los Angeles 2, Pennsylvania 2, Randy Pausch 2,
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  CBS    CBS Evening News With Katie Couric    News/Business. Katie Couric. The latest  
   world and national news. New. (CC) (Stereo)  

    September 13, 2010
    5:30 - 6:00pm PDT  

california. why some members of law >> at 6, surprising new allies to decriminalize marijuana in california >> couric: t the disaster in san bruno as the search continues for the missing, there are new questions about the safety of natural gas and one method of drilling for it. i'm katie couric. also tonight, the battle over tax cuts. the house republican leader suggests a deal with democrats is possible but his senate counterpart says no way. the tea party is looking to score another primary upset in the battle for vice president biden's old senate seat. >> i'm dying and i'm having fun! >> couric: and the professor's last lecture inspired millions. now his widow is on a mission of her own. captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric.
>> couric: good evening, everyone. that gas explosion in san bruno, california, has drawn new attention to what some see as a hidden danger in this country-- underground pipelines. there are nearly 306,000 miles of them in the united states, bringing gas to 58 million homes. when one of those pipelines ruptured last thursday, 37 homes were wiped out and at least four people were killed. four others are still missing. tonight, investigators are trying to zero in on a cause while those who lost everything are trying to put their lives back together. from san bruno, here's john blackstone. >> reporter: a gas station surveillance video obtained by cbs news captures the moment of the explosion in san bruno. the fire erupting from the earth turned the suburban neighborhood into an inferno as residents ran for their lives. jacques chiramberro and his daughter anne marie escaped by climbing their back fence. >> while we were up on that fence the heat from the flames, the fence was hot, we got a
little burned. but overall we're good. we got out. we're happy. >> reporter: residents who lost almost everything gathered with city officials today to talk about what went wrong and what will happen next. survivors remember the heat, the noise, and the shaking as flames shot hundreds of feet into the air. >> to open that door and see that flame, that's the scary part about it. i'm still traumatized about that flame. >> reporter: one resident, walter mccaffrey, shot this cell phone video from his balcony after warning his wife and children not to come home. today his is one of the last houses standing on the edge of a ruined neighborhood. the explosion ripped a 28-foot- long section of gas pipeline out of the earth. a 30-inch high pressure transmission line that ran right under the neighborhood. did you have any idea that pipe went so close to your house? >> no, i do not. no. >> reporter: pacific gas & electric, the utility that operates the pipeline, has almost 6,500 miles of major
transportation pipelines in california. the utility has been ordered by state regulators to inspect all of its gas pipelines in the state, making those in heavily populated areas a priority. and pacific gas & electric is setting up a $100 million fund to help those who lost their homes in the devastation zone recover and rebuild. katie? >> couric: john blackstone in san bruno tonight. john, thank you. there's also growing concern over one way they drill for natural gas, it's something called fracking. several companies want to expand it throughout much of the east so natural gas can be separated from shale deep understood ground. but some experts say chemicals used in the process can poison drinking water and as armen keteyian reports, hundreds showed up at a federal hearing today in western new york to debate the issue. >> safe drilling now! >> reporter: the e.p.a. hearings in binghampton have become a battleground over fracking, a method of extraction that has high rewards for
companies and some say higher risks for communities. what's driving the drilling rush are advances in hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, a process whereby millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are blasted deep understood ground, forcing cracks in the shale, freeing natural gas for collection. it's at the surface from where problems have been reported. like blowouts and spills into groundwater. and as depicted in the hbo documentary "gasland," ignition at the kitchen sink. >> whoa! >> there's no such thing as zero-impact drilling. >> reporter: binghamton, new york, sits near the marcellus shale, an energy rich formation stretching from new york to tennessee that's estimated to hold $2 trillion worth of gas. in pennsylvania, more than 60 gas companies hold more than 4, 500 permits to drill, almost
half granted this year alone. have you found evidence of chemical contaminants in the water? >> spills at the surface, leaks at the surface have, in fact, contaminated people's drinking water. >> reporter: the industry isn't required by law to disclose what potentially toxic chemicals are used in the drilling process. but just last week, the e.p.a. asked nine drilling companies for more information about exactly what's being pumped into the ground. armen keteyian, cbs news, harrisburg, pennsylvania. >> couric: in detroit today, a surprise maneuver by the man accused of trying to blow up a northwest airlines flight on christmas day. appearing in federal court, umar farouk abdulmutallab fired his lawyers and told the judge he wants to represent himself. he also asked for instructions on how to plead guilty to some of the charges. the judge said she will appoint new lawyers to help him prepare his defense and set a new court date for next month.
here in new york, the imam behind the proposed islamic cultural center two blocks from ground zero stirred up even more controversy today. speaking at the council on foreign relations. feisal abdul rauf said opponents of the center are wrong to call the area hallowed ground. >> it's absolutely disingenuous, as many have said, that that block is hallowed ground. that, you know, with a strip joint around the corner, with betting parlors, to claim it's hallowed ground is... it's hallowed ground in one sense but, you know, it doesn't add. >> couric: at the same time, the imam said he's committed to finding a resolution to the controversy over the center's location. >> we are exploring all options as we speak right now. we are working through what will be a solution, god willing, that will resolve this crisis. >> couric: opponents of the islamic center argue the planned location so close to ground zero is an insult to the memory of
those killed by islamic terrorists on 9/11. now to the fight over extending the bush tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of the year. the morning headlines were filled with talk of a possible compromise, but today senate republicans put an end to that, saying it's all or nothing-- everyone gets an extension or no one does. here's our chief white house correspondent chip reid. ( applause ) >> reporter: in a middle-class neighborhood in northern virginia, the president came down strongly on the side of middle income americans. >> they should definitely get an extension of the tax cuts that were instituted in 2001/2003. >> reporter: but he was just as adamant about not extending the bush tax cuts for upper incomes. >> to do it we'd have to borrow $700 billion over the course of ten years. and we just can't afford it. >> reporter: under the president's plan, the bush tax cuts would be extended permanently for couples making less than $250,000 a year and
for individuals making less than $200,000. what does that mean for the middle-class? those earning between $50,000 and $75,000 would avoid a tax increase of more than $1,100 a year. those between $75,000 and $100,000 would avoid an increase of more than $1,800. but the wealthy would get hard. the 315,000 american households but the wealthy would get hit hard. the 315,000 american households that make more than a million dollars a year would see their tax bills rise on average by more than $100,000. house republican leader john boehner stunned members of both parties sunday when he suggested on cbs' "face the nation" that he might have no choice but to support the president's plan. >> if the only option i have is to vote for some of those tax reductions, i'll vote for them. >> reporter: but boehner and other top republicans say they'll continue to fight for extending the tax cuts for upper-income earners. why? because many of them are small business owners and hiking their taxes could have a devastating effect on jobs.
>> no recovery will take place if we impose new taxes on the people we need to create jobs. >> reporter: and it's not just republicans. democratic congressman jerry connolly represents the virginia district where the president spoke. >> given the fragility of the economic recovery, i don't think raising taxes on any income group makes sense right now. i think it will hurt consumer confidence. >> reporter: connolly and about a dozen other democrats have pushing for a compromise. extend the middle-class tax cuts permanently and extend the upper income cuts for another year or two until the economy gets back on its feet. katie? >> couric: chip, is there any chance this will come to a vote before the midterm elections? >> highly unlikely, katie. there's just no appetite for compromise on capitol hill right now. it's almost surely going to have to wait for a lame duck session after election day. >> couric: all right. chip reid at the white house. chip, thanks very much. in other news, poverty in america is up dramatically. new numbers from the government are not due out until thursday, but the associated press has made some projections.
it estimates that last year 45 million americans-- 15% of the population-- were living below the poverty line. that's up nearly two points from the year before and the biggest jump since the government began keeping track more than 50 years ago. the current poverty line is just over $22,000 a year for a family of four. ben tracy has more. >> we've got some rice. >> reporter: maria chavez spent her monday morning trying to find her family's dinner at the local food pantry. >> very sad. i cry sometimes because i don't want to come to here to get food. >> reporter: she's now unemployed, but a year and a half ago she was cleaning houses and providing day care. her husband was in construction and they had no problem feeding and clothing their kids. >> i was in the middle. i feel great because, i said, "oh, my god, i have money, i can pay my bills, i can buy my food." >> reporter: but thanks to the recession and slow recovery, the chavezs and a growing number of
american families are now slipping into poverty. in census figures due out this week, the poverty rate is expected to jump from 13.2% to almost 15%. that means one in seven americans is now officially poor cities with the biggest gains in poverty include detroit, fort myers, florida, las vegas, los angeles, and modesto, california. all hit hard by job loss and plummeting home values. with the unemployment rate lingering at 9.6%, experts say it could be hard for the newly poor to climb back to the middle-class. what is the road ahead like for them? >> it would be very difficult because the jobs that they once had that paid middle-income wages are likely disappearing. it's going to take a long hard road for those jobs to come back. >> reporter: which leaves maria wondering how long her reversal of fortune will last. ben tracey, cbs news, los angeles. >> couric: still ahead on the "cbs evening news," millions were moved by his last lecture
on the web, now his widow is keeping his legacy alive. but up next, a cliffhanger in a key senate primary. why republicans fear a tea party victory.
>> couric: >> couric: the battle for control of congress is down to the final 50 days and tomorrow the final major primaries are being held in seven states,
including delaware where republicans are hoping to win back the seat once held by vice president biden. but they fear that won't happen if the tea party candidate wins tomorrow's g.o.p. primary and congressional correspondent nancy cordes tells us the race is neck in neck. >> reporter: republican christine o'donnell is basking in her sudden prominence. until just two weeks ago, o'donnell was a long shot, a former marketing consultant now working odd jobs up against popular nine-term congressman mike castle. but then the tea party express came to town, pledging $250,000 to o'donnell. >> i think it's miller time in delaware, absolutely. ( laughs ) >> reporter: that's "miller" as in joe miller, who came from nowhere to beat senator lisa murkowski in alaska's primary after the tea party express gave him $550,000. >> we have these cases where the movement is able to pull money together quickly and that really
lends an air of authority and viability to candidates that might not otherwise have risen to the top. >> reporter: this time, though, the republican establishment was ready, pumping money and resources into congressman mike castle's campaign and coming down hard on o'donnell. >> she didn't pay thousands in income taxes. >> reporter: but with the latest endorsement from sarah palin, o'donnell is surging, despite being caught fudging about her finances and educational background. many voters in this moderate state know her best for her antiporn pro-chastity views. >> the bottom line is that i am the only republican who has the chance of winning in the general election. >> reporter: but the tea party express suddenly has deep pockets to help outsider candidates. it's a political action committee, or pac, that was only created this election cycle but has already raised and spent $5 million. where's the bulk of the money
coming from? >> interestingly, it's coming from individuals who appear to be unaffiliated and low profile politically. >> reporter: a win in delaware for o'donnell would be the biggest feather in the tea party's cap yet after senate primary victories in utah, kentucky, and alaska. nancy cordes, cbs news, capitol hill. >> couric: jeff greenfield is our senior political correspondent. jeff, we've seen tea party picks upset establishment g.o.p. candidates in several states already. so why is the tea party upset in delaware so significant? >> i think first it would be their biggest scalp. mike castle represents all of delaware, he was the former governor, he's won statewide ten times. for him to lose to somebody who's never won an election would really be a signal of the tea party strength. more important, there's no scenario for the republicans to win the senate outright without capturing this democratic seat. and by all accounts mike castle if he won would be a heavy favorite to win in november. christine o'donnell if she won would be a heavy underdog. >> couric: there's also another
primary, republican primary, in new hampshire tomorrow and i understand a similar scenario may be playing out there? >> it's less dramatic but the same idea. again, if the republicans want to hold the senate or take the senate, they have to hold the senate seats they now control, as they have in new hampshire. kelly ayotte, the attorney general, is marginally favored to win. her tea party opponent is considered a relative underdog so it's the same kind of situation. the problem is that intensity matters a whole lot in primaries. in intensity is all on the side of the tea partiers and what the what the regulars fear is if the tea party candidates win, republican control of the senate is less likely. >> couric: jeff greenfield, thanks for your perspective tonight. we'll be right back.
as governor, he cut waste got rid of the mansion and the limo budgets were balanced. $4 billion in tax cuts. world class schools and universities. clean energy promoted. 1.9 million new jobs created. california was working. i'm jerry brown. california needs major changes.
we have to live within our means; we have to return power and decision making to the local level-closer to the people and no new taxes without voter approval. jerry brown the knowledge and know-how to get california working again. >> couric: igor is turning into a monster for the atlantic. it's now a category four hurricane about 800 miles east of the northern leeward islands and heading west with winds up to 150 miles an hour. take a look at this stunning view from the international space station. igor is expected to remain a powerful storm through wednesday, but forecasts show it should stay well south of bermuda for at least the next five days. one of the most familiar character actors on television has died. you may know harold gould as miles webber, rose's boyfriend on "the golden girls."
or as ida's father on "the mary tyler moore" show. but i bet you didn't know he played richie cunningham's father in the pilot for "happy days." harold gould was 86. and actor kevin mccarthy died over the weekend. he's best remembered for a 1956 film that kept a lot of kids from sleeping at night "invasion of the body snatchers." >> can't you see everyone? they're here already! you're next! >> couric: "body snatchers" bombed at the box office but became a cult classic and ranked number nine on the american film institute's list of the top sci-fi movies of all time. kevin mccarthy was 96. and coming up next, the teacher whose legacy lives on long after his last lecture.
and how people reacted to it. next why some police officers are... for... legalizing pot. at 6 >> couric: we end tonight with a follow-up to a story we first brought you three years ago about a college professor whose most enduring lesson was how to live and how to die. now as mark strassmann reports, the professor has inspired his widow to take up a cause of her own. >> it's wonderful to be here. >> reporter: randy pausch's "last lecture" was an internet sensation, seen by more than 12
million people. >> i'm dying and i'm having fun. >> reporter: a carnegie mellon professor so alive for a man dying of pancreatic cancer. >> if you look at my c.a.t. scans, there are approximately ten tumors in my liver and the doctors told me three to six months of good health left. >> reporter: but pausch was celebrating, sharing lessons from a life well lived. >> you just have to decide if you're a tigger or an eeyore. i this i i'm clear where i stand on the great tigger/eeyore debate. never lose the child like wonder. it's just too important. >> reporter: to the end, pausch kept his sense of wondor. but ten months after this lecture, he lost his fight with cancer. he was only 47. >> hold on, logan! hold on! >> reporter: in chesapeake, virginia, you'll find his greatest legacy. his widow jay pausch and their three young kids. >> over and over again we visit those questions of is daddy coming back, why did daddy die.
>> reporter: do you play the lecture for them? >> no, they're too young. >> reporter: but she watched it over and over after he died. she needed to hear his voice, see him alive again and have him inspire her to keep going as he has inspired millions. >> it's easy to say, hey, you've got to be a tigger, hey, you've got to appreciate everyday, little moments of happiness. that's easy to say. but when you actually try to practice that, that's tough. i had depended on randy and looked at randy as like the magic man in our lives. what i've learned is that that magic is within me, too. >> your husband is my hero. >> reporter: jay found her new mission, reaching out to survivors of pancreatic cancer, helping raise almost $3 million. of all major cancers, pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate. 75% of patients die within the first year. randy pausch lived 23 months. >> he had father's day with us.
he didn't think he'd make it to father's day. and you can't put a price on that. >> reporter: or on the value of randy's legacy. >> we help to shape our own circumstances. we hope the shape our own destiny. so i think that's a great message. >> reporter: a message that lives on. ask any tigger. mark strassmann, cbs news, chesapeake, virginia. >> couric: and that is the "cbs evening news" for tonight. i'm katie couric in new york. thank you so much for watching. see you back here tomorrow. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh
video taken by a surveillance camera at a gas station, your realtime captioner is linda marie macdonald. caption colorado, l.l.c. it was th tranquility. waiting for the light to turn green and as i said, the earth sort of rising and dirt being thrown in the air. and the -- i guess there's a road that runs along there that all the asphalt was being thrown up in the area and the next moment a huge explosion came from nowhere, pretty intense. >> video taken by a surveillance video at a gas station and comment from one of the eyewitness we spoke with thursday evening. put them together and we are getting a better idea of exactly what happened in san bruno last week. here's another perspective. this is surveillance video from inside the nearby lunardi's supermarket. you can see people all over the store ducking